As part of the City of Ekurhuleni’s aerotropolis framework project, South Africa’s air traffic management agency Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS) plans to relocate and consolidate its divisions to the ATNS campus in Isando, Ekurhuleni. Construction is expected to start in July.
“We want . . . to consolidate all the different divisions within ATNS . . . to be able to work better and efficiently,” says ATNS construction project manager Kananelo Seabe, who tells Engineering News that more details about the project will be released during the formal launch in July.
Seabe says ATNS has an additional 45 ha earmarked for a retail industrial development project that is expected to be launched in November this year, pending approval of the masterplan from the City of Ekurhuleni.
“We have been planning this project for the past two years and we are now almost ready to start with construction. The project comprises Phase 1 and 2 at the new ATNS campus and will occupy about 10 ha, while Phase 3, which will be a retail industrial development project, will occupy 35 ha.”
Regarding its safety and regulation compliance mandate, ATNS senior manager for standards and regulations Thembisa Maphike says airspace infringements such as aircraft entering controlled airspace without an air traffic control clearance, mostly by general aviation (GA), has been a problem for ATNS.
ATNS is engaging with GA at the smaller airports running information campaigns about airspace procedures and has established a relationship with operators at these airports in terms of communication and coordination to try and address the challenges faced with regards to airspace procedures. ATNS files reports for all infringements to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) which is the Aviation Regulator. She says, however, that if there is a severe infringement, the CAA will conduct an investigation and take action against the noncompliance.
Moreover, ATNS and airports management company Airports Company of South Africa have conducted an airside capacity enhancement study to identify and validate capacity-enhancing technologies and procedural improvements to reduce delays, and increase the efficiency and safety of air traffic movements at airports.
United Nations agency the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which manages the administration and governance of aviation globally, conducted an audit of South Africa’s competence in relation to aviation safety oversight systems in May 2017.
The audit report shows that, overall, local safety and aviation standards have improved by more than 3.43%. Before the audit report, South Africa was ranked 41 globally (and second in Africa) in relation to ICAO’s effective implementation of aviation standards.
It was announced that South Africa’s ICAO audit report has improved further, from 83.83% to 86.71%, with the country’s level of effective implementation of the ICAO’s critical elements significantly higher than the world average of 60%. This increase of 3.43% significantly extends South Africa’s trumping of the world average of 60% and it puts South Africa at position one in Africa and 33 globally.
Regarding environmental sustainability, ATNS air traffic specialist Collin Bryant explains that aircraft uses procedures to land at and depart from an airport, and some of these procedures can be efficient and effective or they could require the aircraft to fly more miles than needed.
“We try to optimise the procedures as best as we can by reducing the track miles, which will subsequently save fuel and result in reducing the aviation industry’s carbon emissions . . . by implementing efficient and effective procedures, you can increase the capacity at an airport and this is what we are designing,” he explains.
ATNS air traffic services manager Sibusiso Nkabinde adds that ATNS has implemented a number of initiatives to reduce carbon emissions using an operational flight efficiency matrix, whereby more than 90% of local aircraft are receiving continuous climb and descend profiles.
“This means that, when we clear an aircraft for takeoff and it is cruising at 33 000 feet above sea level, we give it a continuous climb and, with the inertia of the aircraft sustained, this results in its using less fuel, as opposed to levelling off the aircraft and giving it a subsequent climb later on. When the aircraft descends, we give it a continuous descend until it touches down . . . In that way, the aircraft does not need to level off and apply more power to maintain a level flight – it can just descend, continuously while the response to gravity is optimised.”
He further mentions that there are still systemic projects that need to be implemented and these require significant investment.
“One of them is the construction of more rapid exit to runways. This will help us to have areas where the aircraft can vacate while still at high speed and the runway would be available for use by another aircraft much sooner,” Nkabinde concludes.